Tag Archives: Taeyang

Kpop for Noobcakes 10 Best MVs of 2014

It’s no secret that Kpop suffered heavy losses this past year. The entire country collectively mourned for 3 weeks, leaving many schedules canceled and new releases pushed back. While I didn’t listen to them, the Ladies Code crash rippled to all parts of kpop, and other stars went through injury. Lastly, many prominent kpop stars pushed back against their contracts, switching companies or all together leaving the Kpop scene. Yet I found I was at no shortage of fabulous songs, and like last year, I had to cut songs from the honorable mentions section, let alone the top 10. So without further ado, I give you the music videos that I thought were the best this year. Scoring is biased towards the song, but the video also has a heavy weight to how high the song is placed on the list. Cultural relevance and years in the industry also have an impact on how well the song scores.

10. TVXQ- Spellbound

This year has been a fantastic one for swing, and the trend started with TVXQ on the first of the year when they came out with “Something”. “Spellbound” is the even better follow up to their first song of the year, adding a Vegas style flair to the “One shot” box style video that SM is known for. One thing that particularly impressed me about the video is that the backup dancers actually interacted with the camera instead of trying to blend in.

9. F(x)- Red Light

I rather liked the dark styling in this video and the almost round like song. It was an extremely different and memorable song. The draw backs to it were the lack of a climax and how loud the background layering comes through on headphones. It wasn’t mixed as well as I would have liked. All of the ladies were styled well to their personalities and the stylist left behind the usual Katamari ball of weird accessories.

8. Purfles 1,2,3

The first of several rookies on my list, Purfles took their solid harmonies to the bank on this club style Kpop song. Their name is kinda dumb, and their company is small so their distribution is limited, but I advise you to actively promote these girls and the other rookies on this list. All of the groups feature strong vocals, something I feel we need more of in Kpop. Purfles are still working on reaching cohesion live, but if their introduction video tells me one thing, its that their vocal talent may be rough, but its real. Also workout sections of songs are my soft spot, not to mention that her boxing was actually decent.

7. 2ne1- Come Back Home

This is the song I arguably have the most bias with. 2ne1 is my favorite band, and I identify as Blackjack when asked by another Kpop purveyor. This song sits at number 7 because is a slightly above average song with amazing production value. The song does not reach the level of quality I expect from 2ne1, but I spent weeks watching nothing but this music video. It looks gorgeous and has a story worth unraveling.

6. Kiss & Cry- Domino Game

Can we have more trumpet please in songs? The Latin flare and beat is so good in this Kpop song and the dance follows suit. The vocals are very strong, although whether the strong vocals continue after the loss of a member remains to be seen… its not for certain that the group will even be making a comeback. I hope that even if they do not make it back, that more rookie groups will be following in their style, strong vocals, strong image, strong dancing. Strong is sexy.

5. EXO K- Overdose

I think this song slammed its way onto my list because I (wrongly) attribute it to bringing back Kpop. It was the first song to be released after the ferry accident, and I was grateful to them. The ferry tragedy affected me like it did other Kpop fans, but it also occurred during my student teaching and I felt the tragedy a little differently as a teacher myself. Kpop was my way to bring me out of my funk and I was very happy when news of an EXO comeback came my way. Usually I like the M version of the song better, but for this release, I think the K version is much stronger.

4. Block B- Her

Block B’s move to Seven Seasons seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered for the group. While the lines really aren’t balanced anymore, it seems like Zico having a greater hold of creative control on the group has allowed the members to make videos that adhere to their sense of humor. In addition to that, the songs sound different, and that’s not only musical styling. Zico’s writing doesn’t rely on the same tropes that other pop songs seem to use, and so the words sound different than the typical “saranghae” nonsense. I would love to see more releases from them, or even subunit work.

3. Taeyang et ala- Eyes Nose Lips cover project

By itself, “Eyes, nose, lips” is a simple but forgettable ballad. The original song was well sung, and while Taeyang was shirtless for the entirety, the shooting never focused on what he looked like. Here is the original:

YG did a very smart thing with this song and allowed other artists on their label to reinvent the song in their style, bringing out the cover project. The first is the brother sister duo AKMU, who did the song in a soft spring-like indie style.

The second was the English rap ballad version done by Tablo of Epik High. Taeyang sings the bridge on this version in English. The lyrics are decent; listen to this one carefully.

The third and final YG cover is by Lydia Paek, a choreographer under YG. Her cover is a English Ballad. Lydia is formerly of Quest Crew, a dance crew based out of LA, so her English is very accurate and slang infused.

Lastly, while he is not under YG, Eric Nam, a Kpop artist born in Georgia did a verbatim English translation of Taeyang’s original song.

Now all of these songs separately would not be enough to make it onto the list, but together the concept of “Eyes, Nose, Lips” is enough to make it to the third spot on the list.

2. Mamamoo- Piano Man

This song nearly became my number one song of the year. Mamamoo debuted at the beginning of this year, but they seemed to be on very few Kpop fan’s radar. This song however, is a brilliant use of their vocal talents to deliver swing music that uses excellent piano that was clearly live recorded for the song. The video evokes a 1920’s speakeasy, and each idol is cast as a different person inside the club. What is even more spectacular than the video is the live performance, which not only sounds exactly like the recording, but every single performance version differs from the others. They do a different action or add a different flavor sentence to the blank spaces of the song. It gives the viewer a reason to sit through all the live versions to find the differences. It also shows how talented these girls are, to remember which version is happening at which show. There are at least a dozen live performances, and if you like this song even slightly, I encourage you to watch a live version… or two… or 8.

1. Spica- You Don’t Love Me

Do I even have to explain? I hope the 3 rookie groups mentioned on this list this year reach the vocal prowess that Spica just is. The styling of the video uses a lot of 40’s and 50’s makeup, hair and outfits, and while this is a box video, they actually interact with the set, to hilarious fashion at the end of the song. Their take on the use of butt padding in the industry is amusing as hell and the whole thing is quite frankly perfect. The only issue I’ve ever had with it has been the English translation of the song being not quite as girl power as the video is, but since I can’t speak Korean, it’s not really an appropriate complaint, nor would it change the spot on the list if I added that problem into the equation.

At the end of every list, I add five slots for videos that didn’t quite make it on the list. As for my honorable mentions:

1. Everything that Orange Caramel touched this year. Seriously, they had Catellena and My Copycat for main songs which both had awesome videos. They had a great commercial video for Baskin Robbins called Abing Abing, and my personal favorite Gangnam Avenue. If I liked their group concept even a tiny bit more than I do, any one of these songs could have been on the list.

2. High4 and IU- Not Spring, Love or Cherry Blossoms. This was huge in Korea, especially because they really like seasonally themed music. This is the first time I really enjoyed a song centered around the start of spring and how the writer did not want to have to deal with love blossoming.

3. Kara- Mamma Mia. I was pleasantly surprised with this song; I was worried with the loss of 2 members that Kara was not going to fair well. This song was really good.

4. Masta Wu ft. Dok2 & Bobby- Come here. It’s a guilty pleasure to be honest. I liked the stripped out mixing and I’m rather a fan of the flow of all the members featured. I have no idea what they’re saying and I think if I did I probably wouldn’t like it as much as I do. I’m trying to stay blissfully ignorant.

5. Got7- A. As you may be able to see by my lists, I enjoy female groups far more than male groups, because I like their singing a lot more. What carries this song is the video, especially the dancing and the humor used and how sometimes they intertwine the two. It’s also pretty damn catchy considering most of the chorus is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYEEEEEEE.

Hoping for a good 2015 for Kpop. Have a happy New Year everyone.
❤ Rebecca

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Back after a month long haitus

Oh hello there. Sorry for the silence. This past month I’ve been putting in full hours at work, and I’ve been focusing hard on the Us Nasties group (Eat Your Kimchi’s US Fan page), because we had a meet and greet in LA for 80 people this past week. I never knew how involved gathering large amounts of people would be, and I didn’t even have to do most of the work. DAMN SON. That and I went to AnimeNext and put together some cosplays. I don’t have a picture of one; I walked around with a shirt that had the word “Life” on it and I gave out lemons. The other two:

This is Miss Fortune "Mafia Skin" from League of Legends. I had to use nerf guns instead of replica tommy guns =(
This is Miss Fortune “Mafia Skin” from League of Legends. I had to use nerf guns instead of replica tommy guns =(
This one is a character from Genshiken. I wasn't recognized the entire con, but I really liked the wig, so I'm figuring out where else I can use it.
This one is a character from Genshiken. I wasn’t recognized the entire con, but I really liked the wig, so I’m figuring out where else I can use it.

In my defense, I didn’t miss much. I don’t report on scandals, and this month was a whole bunch of scandals and not a lot of any type of music that I enjoyed. I am happy that I’m getting back right before the F(x) drop and I’m hoping that we’ll get some good kpop soon. I’ve been very unimpressed this year with releases. These are the songs that I enjoyed during my break:

This first one is 8Dayz by Megan Lee. I didn’t notice it until about a week ago, when I heard the English version, but it actually came out mid May. I like that the English version doesn’t have the rap section, which in Junhyung’s defense was not bad. I just thought it didn’t mesh with the rest of the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMxW57JjunE

I liked Ukiss’ Don’t Play, and would have been much more comfortable with the song if it didn’t seem like it was being promiscuous for the sake of doing so. I was not able to suspend disbelief that I was watching something that contained over dramatized characters, and the female character was cemented into my brain as an object rather than a person with agency. That and Eli’s rap was not something I enjoyed. However, the chorus, versus and instrumentals were enough for me to include it on this list. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0pJ-mBHiV0

Then I had Eyes, Nose, Lips by Taeyang. I love the song, and the video is shot in such a way that it makes you focus on the song. I just wish there was something slightly more dynamic about the video. Because I can’t understand the lyrics, it’s a song that I play in the background and I don’t watch the video itself, meaning that when I think of good releases this past month, it takes me a second to remember it was released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwuAPyOImoI

Lastly, I found Tablo’s cover of Eyes, Nose, Lips riveting. This must be what Taeyang’s video did for people who understand Korean, because the writing in the verses was better than I expected it to be. “They say time flies, but you keep breaking its wings.” “No cure, no rehab for me/ Funny how you got the nerve to keep asking me/ How I’ve been. You’re the victor in this pageantry/ But the only trophy you deserve? Catastrophe.” It’s not impeccable, but it certainly exceeded expectations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhc_UpS6U3Y

I saw AOA’s short hair. Didn’t really have feelings either way for it. Hangover made my ears bleed. Other songs didn’t make it on my radar.

What did I miss in the kpop world? Anything stunning I need to look at now? Also, any suggestions of what to cosplay as using that short strawberry blond wig?

❤ Rebecca

Saranghae: Taeyang’s Dance MV for “Ringa Linga”

I really can’t hold in how much I love this dance. The song’s really intense and it’s got a great dance MV to go with it.

Now currently there’s several immature Exo fans camping in the comment section of the video saying that this is a copy of Growl. I know that these fans aren’t what most Exo fans look like, but they’ve gotten VIP’s pretty riled up since it’s pretty damn obvious that no one owns a “one shot” filming style. It’s even funnier when you think that Love Song by Big Bang was filmed in the “One Shot” style in a rather spectacular fashion back in 2011. You can check that video out here:

The last thing I want to highlight is the choreographer Parris Goebel from New Zealand. Her and her crew make this dance MV awesome and her dance style, Polyswagg, is something I want to see more of, both in and out of the Kpop realm. She does the “one shot” style filming in most of her dance videos and this is my favorite one besides the Taeyang song:

Overfilling with the squeeeeeeeeeee
❤ Rebecca

Kplaylist 3: Testosterone Takeover

I just have to say before you start: Lloyd that is the best face I’ve seen you make ever (the video thumbnail).

Hello one and all Kpop nubs, this is the significant other of the blog overlord here, taking over this blog for the moment with shoop da woops, fried chicken and growing Kpop love. Following the theme of the previous post, i will be injecting this page with my repeat button-smashing Kpop list. I’ve worked on on-the-spot intros to every track basically highlighting a key aspect to the music or video that just made it so enjoyable, time and time again.

And for anyone looking to avoid seeing my mug and just absorb the vibe of the music, here is a playlist without the intros to every video.

The fundamental theme is how many of these songs related to r&b/hip-hop styles from the 90s, at least to me, and how this list is as much a reflection of these artists style as it is nostalgia. Its infinitely more enjoyable when you can find the familiar in a new genre and how much more relate-able it makes the music, even when you fail at the words. Hopefully I get to enjoy the nuances of Kpop music itself as I dig further down the rabbit hole. See you there.

…Wat.

I love my boyfriend, but sometimes I just go “Srsly?” I guess Kpop exposure has to get a little bit ridiculous, cause Kpop is, well, a little bit ridiculous.

❤ Rebecca

Kplaylist 2: Destroy the repeat

So I did a much better job with the volume this time, although you still may need to alter the volume between my videos and the music videos, especially if you’re wearing headphones. For this playlist, I focused on songs I literally never tire of. These might not be my favorite songs from these artists or even from Kpop in general, but they never seem to get old, and that’s a special talent in and of itself.

So in the first Kplaylist blog post, I said all the song names and artists in the post, but I’m not gonna do that. You’ll see the artists in the side youtube bar if you watch it on Youtube, but I would rather you watch it embedded. It would be nice to have an element of surprise in my playlist, and I fee like if you look at the songs beforehand you’ll be more prone to skipping through the list to your favorites. There are aesthetic reasons the list is in the order that it is with the mix of songs that I made, and I respect that many people might have different tastes in music than me, but out of respect for the effort and thought I put into this, please don’t skip songs (at least the first time through, after you’ve given my list one full listen feel free to skip all you want).

Also, I made a playlist of just the songs if you want to listen to the playlist without the commentary:

So questions for the viewers, do you like the commentary format of the first playlist video better (where I made one comment video for every 2 videos) or do you like this playlist better (where I made an intro video for every video on the playlist). Let me know, because I wanna pick one format and stick with it.

Also if you have an idea for a playlist, be sure to put it in the comments section.

❤ Rebecca